We start off the new month with a bang by speaking with one for the busiest women in the local scene, Amanda Ashley. When she is not preforming or hosting open mics, she is heading her own creation called Local Visionaries. We meet with her briefly at The Firehouse to talk about how everything got started.
How did you begin singing?
My baby sitter, when I was three or four years old, had a piano and every time I went over her house I would run to the piano and play around on it, do my thing as a kid. She ended up selling it to my parents a few years later. On my sixth birthday my dad took me to my first piano lesson; throughout the years I tried everything but the only thing that was constant was the piano. Eventually I picked up the guitar and I have also played violin for nine years. I wrote poetry a lot as well, eventually the two combined and I started writing music and preforming when I was 16.
How did Local Visionaries Start?
I started that about a year ago. It was a personal challenge, I wanted to combine the act of getting cool creative people together to celebrate the arts. I moved here 4 years ago and this community just has so much art, music and poets. I figured why not bring all of the local artists together and create an outlet to showcase themselves.
The goal of this to create an event with artists where the average person, who has no knowledge of art, can walk in off the street and have a whole night of good food and events geared to them. The first event was really successful, I was able to meet some really cool people and make friends. Now we do one about once a month and it is always evolving.
When did you start hosting the Firehouse open mics?
It got offered to me as a gig. I originally started this at the Standard Lounge before it closed. I was preforming there with my old band they came and asked me to host the open mic there. It sounded like fun and a really good opportunity. I called my friend Beau to co-host; he had hosted open mics for fifteen years and had the experience to help me out. It was a great experience to work with him one a week.
The Standard Lounge would always cancel last minute and eventually cancelled us outright, so we moved it to the Firehouse. Beau new the owner of this bar so we just called him up and moved it year and have had nothing but success.
When did you release your newest album “Like Confessions?”
Here’s the funny thing, that’s really not the title. I had the CD come out early last march I released it with a record label out of California, but the completely screwed it up. The real title is “Back to Me”. The CD was also supposed to have fourteen songs on it and they only released twelve. But I have the fixed CD that I sell at shows.
Keep up with Amanda Ashley Here
Amanda will also be preforming this Friday: Details
Check out Local Visionaries to see about the newest event!